Assessment of Floating Gardens to Improve the Water Quality of the Chicago River

The work was a pilot study investigating the potential of floating gardens to improve the water quality of an urban stream, the Chicago River. The results showed that concentrations of nitrate as nitrogen in the waters were lower after flowing past the floating garden. Statistical differences were noted in the surface concentrations during both the growing season (t(22) = 1.9, p = 0.03) and the dormant season (5(18) = 4.1, p < 0.001) at the surface. The 0.3 m depth says statistically significant lower concentrations in the dormant season (t(11) = 2.1, p = 0.3). During the non-growing season, which aligns with periods of highest chloride concentrations, the 0.3 m depth say a significant decrease in chloride concentrations after the water flowed under the garden (t(11) = 2.1, p = 0.03). The pilot project shows that floating gardens have the ability to improve the water quality of river systems.

  • PI: Eric Wade Peterson
  • PI Institution: Illinois State University
  • June 18, 2019 – December 31, 2020